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Justice done, but still no Arlene

By SPP Reporter

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IT HAS been an extraordinary five weeks, with a nationwide focus being placed on Moray and Elgin, and the second trial for murder of Nat Fraser. There was huge anticipation as the jury was sent out this week to deliver its verdict.

Would the former fruit and veg businessman, now a figure of notoriety, be convicted again, or would he be granted the freedom he has been fighting for? It was GUILTY for a second time.

A huge sense of relief broke out among the many people in the justice system who had battled so long and so hard to win justice for the family of Arlene Fraser – and that family has had to endure 14 years of hell. Not content with the loss of the then young mum in mysterious and tragic circumstances, they have had the weeks, months and years of searches, investigations, a trial and numerous appeals – and now another trial.

Throughout it all, Arlene’s parents and sister have maintained great dignity, earning plaudits for their perseverance in seeing Nat Fraser is brought to justice while keeping up their spirits through the fluctuating fortunes of what has been a truly extraordinary investigation. They had the high of seeing him convicted in 2000 then the despair last year of a second trial being ordered – and now relief again.

But what they would want most of all is to know what happened to Arlene. Only one man can end their agony, and he is not telling; nor do they expect him to.

Nat Fraser may try to set in motion more attempts to prove his innocence, so it may not be over for Arlene’s family, if you can ever get over the loss of a loved daughter and sister, a mother and a friend to many.

Fraser’s former business partner, Ian Taylor, tells ‘The Scot’ that Nat Fraser should now come clean, and we would support that call. Please, tell what happened to Arlene.

There has been a funeral service but no burial, so Arlene’s family can never accept any kind of closure to this nightmarish episode in their lives. They deserve that at least.

Talking is easy, but can council deliver?

THE NEW Moray Council administration set out its “priorities” this week, no doubt part of a “vision” that many people have felt has been lacking in recent years. There are few surprises on the list.

Completing the flood schemes, promoting economic growth, driving forward tourism potential, improving community safety, tackling alcohol misuse, integrating health and social care to keep people out of hospital and at home for as long as possible; developing a fair transport policy, and a clear policy on wind turbines; reducing homelessness and encouraging voluntary organisations.

Yes, all pretty safe subjects, but important ones. The administration has set itself a challenge, and progress on all these issues will be followed closely.

Also a priority is improving communication with the public, which ‘The Scot’ has been calling for since the poor turnout at the election. It will be interesting to see how the council sets about not just delivering on these priorities but convincing the public that they have an important role to play. The council needs the public and community groups and organisations to have an input into all of these, and that means talking to and listening to them.

The local authority can’t afford to be seen as divorced from the people it serves and represents. It has to be convincing in believing this is a people’s council and that communicating with the people of Moray and making the authority more relevant to them should be a top priority.

Not all decisions will be popular. Austere times necessitate some tough decision-making, but councillors and officials must be aware of what matters most to the electorate and how to go forward with them to make Moray economically and socially stronger.

Councillors, of course, have a key role, too, not only those in the administration but those in opposition who have to work hard at calling the ruling coalition to account and be supportive when appropriate.

And all councillors should be going into their communities to continue the communication theme, to listen, to explain, to reinvigorate interest in what the local authority does, and champion what the people see as their priorities.

We all want to see Moray thrive, but that can only be achieved by a huge team effort, not just within the council but with business, the voluntary sector, community groups and the public, of all ages and interests.

It is easy to talk about priorities, it is harder to deliver. The administration should be aware that all eyes are on them to see if they can truly deliver. The future of Moray rests with them.

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